By , Andre Lavoie
Published June 14, 2016
Poor management skills carry long-lasting effects and may infect an entire organization. The results of toxic, misguided leadership reach far and wide.
They can even affect employee retention. In Gallup’s 2015 State of the American Manager report, one out of two professionals surveyed said they had quit a job at some point in their career to “get away” from their boss.
On the other hand, strong leaders who use good management skills positively impact a company in various ways, like reducing turnover, improving morale and empowering employees to be more productive. Management needs to lead by example and create a positive working environment for employees to perform at their best capacity.
The following four problems detail the negative impact bad management has, and illustrate how good managing tactics can help solve workplace issues:
When employees are not recognized for their accomplishments or are only criticized for their shortcomings, they don’t feel valued and work in a state of fear of making a mistake. This is a common problem. A September 2015 study from Achievers found that 57 percent of the 397 employees surveyed didn't feel recognized for their progress at work. When people aren’t recognized, they aren’t motivated.
Solution: Good management skills include the ability to communicate effectively. This ability isn't just about delegating. It also encompasses efforts to actively let employees know they are valued.
A 2015 survey from Michelle McQuaid and the VIA Institute on Character found that 71 percent of the 1,000 employees surveyed who said they believed their managers could name their individual strengths also said they felt engaged and energized by their work.
There should be consistent, open communication, where employees receive constructive feedback. Managers should provide guidance to subordinates on improving weaknesses while also celebrating those employees' strengths and accomplishments.
Face it -- most meetings are major time sinks with little payoff. The disconnect exists between the manager’s desire to stay in the loop and delegate tasks, and the employee’s disinterest in attending.
Meetings are often viewed as a hassle for the staff, who usually have to stop their projects to focus instead on pulling reports, summarizing projects and presenting new ideas or sharing opinions. These distractions scatter their focus, killing their productivity and morale.
Solution: Staying organized is one of the top management skills needed to run a successful company. Good management means identifying which employees must attend and which ones can stay with their current tasks
For example, don’t pull in a whole department to discuss a project run by a handful of specialists. Those who aren’t directly involved will most likely stare off into space, tap their feet and feel anxious about getting back to their workload.
Send out agendas so the meeting can stay on track. If all employees are briefed with a schedule, they'll be better prepared and have a process to follow. When topics go off off on a tangent, use the agenda to bring everyone back to the goal and purpose of the meeting.
End the meeting by asking for feedback. Give employees a voice so they can offer advice on how to improve the efficiency of meetings.
Bad managers threaten an employee’s job security. When employees sense an imminent layoff, gossip spreads through the office. Scared workers will even use company time to look for a new job. Even if they don’t, their morale will be reduced, and they'll stop trusting and respecting the management team.
Managers who instill fear tend to assign blame, withhold information and answer questions in vague, noncommittal ways. They refrain from showing compassion and creating a persona that appears unapproachable. They also thrive on being unpredictable; and that has an effect, because when employees are uncertain, they are fearful.
Solution: Create an environment centered on trust and honesty. Employees should not carry around substantial stress caused by wondering if each day is their last.
Exercise transparency by openly sharing pertinent company information. Instead of blaming others, take responsibility while turning failures into opportunities for growth. The worst thing managers can do is create a negative environment.
When managers commit the aforementioned no-nos, they create a negative working environment. If employees suffer from anxiety and stress, they are simply not going to work well. Aspects of a bad workplace include inconsistent policies, favoritism and a lack of managerial presence.
Solution: Keep policies consistent, treat everyone fairly and be "present." Jump into the trenches with your employees, regardless of their level. When managers are present, they show that they view employees as equals. Ruling from an ivory tower feels isolating and elitist.
Finally, ensure that employees feel comfortable discussing their compensation and other work-related issues they aren’t satisfied with. A transparent culture encourages teamwork, and establishes a mutual respect and trust among all organizational levels.